Wahid Ooi

  • The Honda Riding Assist-e Concept is a self-balancing electric motorcycle

  • Shares the same frame with the Honda Riding Assist

  • The rider does not need to put a foot down at standstill

The Honda Riding Assist-e Concept at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

Honda had earlier previewed the Riding Assist concept (click here for our coverage) but that was powered by a gasoline engine. However, both the e-bike and petrol engine bike were built upon the Honda NC700 frame.

Riding Assist in Honda’s term means that the bike keeps itself upright when stationary at the traffic lights without needing the rider to put a foot or feet down to balance it. Also, the bike keeps itself upright at slow speeds, possibly a good feature for tackling u-turns. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fall off it.

Interestingly, the self-balancing feature was built by Honda’s robotics division. Honda have long been developing robotics and humanoid walking robots like the ASIMO in year 2000 was a prime example.

the Honda Riding Assist-e uses an electric motor mounted under the seat which sends power through a driveshaft to the rear wheel, like that on Honda’s VFR series. A radiator sits behind the electric motor. However, the self-balancing technology doesn’t use gyroscopes.

That’s as much as we know about the Honda Riding Assist-e at the moment, until it is fully unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show on 25th October 2017.

In any event, the Honda Riding Assist-e and Riding Assist look production-ready and it’ll be interesting to see if Honda can bring them to life.

In our opinion, attention should be paid to electric bikes or e-bike as more and more countries around the world and our region are pushing towards the full banning of new gasoline-powered vehicles in favour of electric vehicles, within the next decade or so. But do not fear electric vehicles as electric motors transfer immediate torque without lag, unlike gasoline engines.


  • Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki are 2017 WorldSBK Champions

  • 12th win of the season for Johnny Rea and KRT

  • Rea is the first rider to score three successive WorldSBK championships

Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) are 2017 WSBK champions after blitzing the field in Race 1 at the Magny-Cours Circuit in France, with two rounds and five races to go.

Rea charged into the lead from pole positioned and pulled clear of the pack, and continued to put the hammer down throughout the 21-lap race in treacherous wet-drying conditions. This latest win gave him the 12th victory of the season, making him the first WorldSBK rider to win three successive titles.

Jonathan Rea charged to an excellent victory at the Magny-Cours circuit in France on Saturday to secure a historic third consecutive WorldSBK title, crossing the line over 16 seconds ahead of second placed Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati), with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finishing third.

It was a truly gritty ride from Rea’s teammate Sykes as the Yorkshireman returned to action with a third place result, having had surgery on a finger injury less than two weeks ago – after a Portimao crash. Sykes completed the podium after just losing out on second place to Melandri in the final stages of the race.

Five seconds off the rostrum positions was Leon Camier who had another excellent ride for MV Agusta Reparto Corse. Another 19 seconds back on his compatriot Camier was Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who rounded out the top five.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) were sixth and seventh respectively, whilst Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) was the eighth rider home.

Early in the race there was a crash for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), which also saw Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) go down, but remarkably Dutchman Van der Mark fought back to finish ninth, ahead of Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati).

Race 2 at the Pirelli French Round will get going at the 4.411km Magny-Cours track at 7pm Malaysian time on Sunday.

  • Nicky Hayden was knocked down by a car in May this year

  • He passed away five days afterwards

  • The case’s investigator put blame on both sides

Nicky Hayden is still very much missed by the motorcycle racing fraternity, his fans (many of them here in Malaysia), and the lives of those he touched outside the paddocks.

The world was shocked to the news of him being hit by a car while he was out cycling near the Misano Circuit in Italy, on 17th May 2017 (click here for our report). He was transferred to the ICU of a hospital outside Rimini, also in Italy. Get well wishes poured in, inundating Facebook and websites. Everyone were positive he would fight through the episode, just like how he had fought through so much adversity on the track.

But this was one race Nicky could not win, succumbing to his serious head injuries five days later (click here for our report). Everyone was crushed by the news.

The case has been under investigation by the local prosecutor, and the findings of the has been made public.

The investigation took account statements from the driver, eyewitnesses, and CCTV footage. Fault had been apportioned both parties, which meant both Nicky and the car driver were at fault. 70% of the blame went to the driver, for excessive speeding, and 30% to Nicky Hayden, for failing to stop fully at the intersection’s stop sign.

The 30-year-old driver struck Nicky while driving at 70km/h in a 50km/h speed limit zone.

Accidents are more often than not the result of a combination of circumstances, and very rarely that any one party is 100% accountable.

The case will now head to a Italian criminal fault and lawyers are sure to argue on the comparative fault between Nicky Hayden and the driver.

The driver faces a five to ten years sentence in jail, as he is charged with vehicular homicide.

In our personal opinion, please look out for cyclists and give them a wide berth. It’s not easy for them to spot other vehicles when they’re tucked into that riding position. Use your horn and approach carefully.


You know The Wave. Not the Mexican Wave but the Biker Wave.

You’re riding along on a quiet country road.

You take sharp deep breath and sigh in relief to get away from your office and boss which you named “The Gulag” and “Jong Un” respectively in your phone. Let’s not get to the Mrs.

As you ride under a natural canopy formed by overhanging branches, you wonder how nice it would be if other bikers, your brethren, had ridden here and admired such beauty. You make a mental note to share this route on Facebook later.

With that positive thought in mind, you notice quaint houses dotting the roadside every few kilometres, but they all seem empty. You haven’t seen a car or a motorcycle for the last 20 kilometres, come to think of it. Not a soul except for birds darting among the branches. Some loneliness, or a pang of guilt, perhaps?

A few more kilometres down the road and you spot a group of bright lights heading up the hill towards you. You smile in your helmet.

As your draw near, you notice they are riding the same model as yours, perhaps it’s a same-make ride. So, you take your left hand off the handlebar and wave.

The leader looked straight on as he passes by, as if he doesn’t want to acknowledge seeing a ghost. Slightly irritated, you keep waving nonetheless, but the rest of the group did the same too!


You start to question yourself. Are my bike and I cloaked in an invisibility shield? Was it because they didn’t notice my hand because of the black gloves? Am I in Padang Mahsyar and my soul continues to ride?

That episode has left you seething under your helmet for the next 10 kilometres, swearing their pistons would seize. Or a solar flare shorted out their ECUs. Or the same flare blew out their GPS and send them riding in circles.

The above scenario isn’t unique to a just one occasion, it’s now happening everytime I go out on a ride.

Everyone waved at each other when I started biking in the 80’s, regardless of what either party rode; be it a sportbike, cruiser, tourer, dual purpose, even small bikes.

More and more bikers don’t acknowledge each other these days, although when riding on the same model, what more when encountering others on different makes. It happens even when we’re side by side at the traffic lights. Or worse, they’d return your wave by flipping the middle finger. Adoi.

I’m not being annoyed because of not being acknowledged but are people so full of themselves these days? Are they trying to say, I own a large capacity motorcycle, thereby I’m an elitist, therefore another person isn’t supposed to be on one? But hey, I bet they pound their chests about “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” at biker meets. I’ve often noticed male bikers waving to lady bikers without reservation, though. Tsk tsk!

When one biker waves at another, it might also be because he’s trying to warn you about the dangers that lie ahead. Watch out, there are potholes on the road. Or slow down, there’s taik lembu in the next corner.

Well, I continue wave at other bikers. But I don’t wait around for their response anymore.

  • BMW rnineT Review – You Have the Power

  • The BMW R nineT is meant as a base for customizing

  • But the BMW rnineT Pure is a “whiter” canvas

I’ve loved liked rock and heavy metal music since I was in school.

“Trendy” schoolmates were more or less divided into two camps. In one corner, were the Canto-Poppers who adored Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Alan Tam, et al. They were easily distinguishable in their baggy Ali Baba pants and shirts.

In the other corner were the Mat Rock (rockers) who headbanged to Search, Lefthanded, BPR, Wings, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Bon Jovi, Guns ‘N’ Roses. Their hairs were “slightly” longer (or thicker if they can’t keep it long), high-top shoes, tight shirts, and especially low-cut pants so tight they couldn’t bend their knees more than 10 degrees.

Yes, I was definitely in the second group.

Then in 1991, Nirvana released their revolutionary record: Nevermind. Rock music was suddenly turned on its head. Gone were complex arrangements and guitar solos of rock gods such, replaced by the basic, guttural, rebellious sound of grunge.

Grunge soon led to NuMetal and all other sub-genres such as Industrial Metal were born. The German band called Rammstein is the leader in Industrial Metal, popularized through their song Du Hast (You Have).

But I could never get the song. No, I’m not referring to my illiteracy of Deutsch but the whole arrangement and direction of it.

I guess I’m firmly locked into old school (like in the movie School of Rock).

BMW Motorrad have long attempted to capture a solid foothold in the retro market, not from lack of heritage since BMW Motorrad had many iconic motorcycles in past years. There were so many, in fact! The modern BMW R nineT, however, harks back to the 1973 R90S. The R90S was the bike which won the inaugural AMA Superbike Championship in 1976, ridden by Reg Pridmore.

With BMW Motorrad’s 90th anniversary looming 2013, the German firm needed a motorcycle to commemorate this important milestone, and they wanted an old-school, air/oil-cooled boxer-twin engine, housed in a roadster form.

The BMW R nineT was designed by the current BMW Motorrad Chief Designer, Ola Stenegard and his team. Stenegard had penned the basic looks of the model and then spoke to renowned motorcycle designer Roland Sands (he of RSD) to fine tune the final design.

In fact, Stenegard is a classics, customs and café racer enthusiat through and through, although he also penned the S 1000 RR.

So, the resulting BMW R nineT was not only a homage to past icons but also became a blank canvas for further customization.

However, BMW Motorrad had released the R nineT Pure some months ago and it has since been the whitest canvas for customization. (Click here for our report.)

Which begs the question: What is the R nineT we tested here?

Well, I’d personally like to call it a ol’ skool roadster with a modern twist.

It hads the lines of a classic in the tank and short seat, but it also had all modern details such as the intake snout, adjustable forks, radially mounted Brembo calipers, ABS and Paralever rear suspension set up.

From the seat, you come face-to-face with the dual analog dials set in handsome polished aluminium bezels. There is a small LCD screen at the bottom of each dial. Controls on the handlebars are minimal, consisting of just one extra INFO button besides the customary ones. There is no RIDE or POWER mode, although ABS is standard and non-switchable.

The handlebar is really wide, almost like that of the R 1200 GS, but set further ahead of the long fuel tank. The relatively short seat has a novel feature. the subframe underneath it supports it completely, while the bars attached to its bottom part from behind the swingarm pivot acts to carry the passenger’s footpegs can be fully removed. This is surely a feature for customization.

Seated firmly on the bike, the engine comes on in loud BRRAOOM! while kicking to the right as if someone had knocked into the left side of the bike. It’s the same when you rev the engine at standstill – the bike kicks to the right, courtesy of the 11170cc, Boxer-Twin “oilhead” engine’s torque. It was disconcerting at first, but it soon charmed its way in as part of the bike’s character.

Dumping the clutch had the bike taking off to the tune of the characteristic Boxer engine roar and boom of the dual megaphone-style Akrapovic exhausts. The stock exhausts are already quite loud and soulful by BMW’s standards. I always found myself grinning when I grabbed big fistfuls of throttle, just to hear them sing like Anthrax’s rhythm section. They gave the bike a distinctive and more importantly a fierce presence in traffic, surprising road users into giving you way.

Keep twisting the throttle and the 110 Bavarian horses kick out 119 Nm of torque to the ground, giving the rider’s body a full taste of what it means by heavy-metal torque. The engine kept pulling and pulling, all the way to the redline.

But the time it hits 6000 RPM, you’re doing 140km/h and you got to hold on tight as speed picks up quickly , lest it’s like being blasted off the stage by the sound system at Manowar’s concerts.

In the handling department, the R nineT is relatively agile (despite its big rake and trail, and long wheelbase) but also stable in long, high-speed corners. The beefy upside down forks are the traditional set up without BMW’s signature Telelever . That equates to feeling every signal the front tyre sends your way in terms of grip level, lean angle, road surface character, braking pressure.

The rear suspension uses BMW’s ubiquitous Paralever single-sided swingarm to tame the Boxer-Twin’s torque through the shaft. The rear shock is adjustable for preload and rebound damping but there isn’t a need to do so, as the stock settings are already well-calibrated.

The front brakes are strong and a two-fingered pull usually put too much retarding force, causing the bike to pitch forward hard. Rolling off the throttle calls up a good deal of back-torque to assist in emergency braking, too.

Combining the engine’s character and handling traits equals an experience like Ritchie Blackmore’s orgasmic guitar solo in Highway Star.

Charging through traffic was all a matter of utilizing the engine’s torque, brakes and wide handlebar. Overtaking a long row of cars was just a twist of the wrist away. Steering was just a small tap on the handlebar. Stopping was a finger pull ahead. It was like listening to Paradise City: Calm one moment, before everything bursts into exhilaration.

Besides functionality, the R nineT has already given a set of good looks. It looks beefier hence more aggressive. That, the white and blue badge and its distinctive voice had people staring at it everytime. I could only imagine how a customized R nineT would have people flocking over in droves.

So, what is the R nineT?

It’s a standard bike which rides like a naked sportbike, but charming as an old school sportbike like the R90S (how I wish I could ride one!). In musical analogy, it’s like old school rock mixed with new rock for a different experience. To be frank, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve never liked Rammstein’s Du Hast. But I came to appreciate it after testing the BMW R nineT, because like the song, it has a rebellious edge. It could well be BMW’s hooligan bike. Yes, it does, even for a BMW.

Perhaps it’s best to sum up the BMW R nineT in German.

Du hast die leistung (You have the power).



Engine type Air/Oil-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, horizontally-opposed (Boxer) Twin
Compression ratio 12.0 : 1
Bore X Stroke 101 mm X 73 mm
Displacement 1170 cc
Fuel system Electronic intake pipe injection
Maximum power 110 bhp (81 kW) @ 7550 RPM
Maximum torque 119 Nm @ 6000 RPM
Clutch Single dry plate clutch, hydraulically actuated
Gearbox Constant mesh, 6-speed, shaft drive
Front suspension 46mm upside down fork, 120mm travel
Rear suspension Single central shock absorber adjustable for preload and rebound damping. 120mm travel
Front brakes Two 320mm floating discs, Brembo four-piston radially-mounted calipers ABS
Rear brake Single 255 mm disc, Brembo two-piston floating caliper
ABS BMW Motorrad ABS, front and rear
Front tyre 120/70-ZR17
Rear tyre 180/55-R17
Frame Four-section frame consisting of one front and three rear sections; load-bearing engine and transmission; removable pillion frame for single rider
Swingarm Cast aluminium single-sided swingarm with BMW Motorrad Paralevel
Trail 102.5 mm
Rake 25.5 degrees
Wheelbase 1470 mm
Seat height 785 mm
Dry weight 208 kg
Fuel capacity 18 litres



  • Royal Enfield’s twin-cylinder engine and motorcycles slated for EICMA 2017 debut

  • Widely speculated to be a 750cc engine

  • May even go above 800cc

Spyshots of the Royal Enfield twin-cylinder motorcycles have been circulating around the internet for some time now, more or less confirming the manufacturer’s claim of working on a twin-cylinder engine, Autocar India reported.

It’s also obvious that Royal Enfield are also working on different models around that twin-cylinder engine, as evidenced by the photo above. The model in the foreground appears to be a cafe racer-styled model, while the one on the right looks to be a standard model.

The cafe racer has a rounded fuel tank with deep knee recesses, and a single seat. The standard model has a bench seat, which is offered as an option to the current Continental GT 535 buyers.

Apart from those features, both bikes are mechanically identical. The engines of bikes appear to be the same air- and oil-cooled parallel-Twin. The suspension and brake components looked to be identical, too.

Building many different models based on one engine or chassis platform saves development and production cost, while customers enjoy lower maintenance costs as most parts are shared amongst a few models.

Although widely speculated as 750cc, Royal Enfield has not officially confirmed it to be so. But, the mule has been testing extensively in Europe before being tested in India. Royal Enfield sold 651,107 bikes in India alone, compared to 15,383 exported last year. However, the current 500cc and 535cc variants made up less than 10% of the domestic number; the bulk of the sales were the 350cc models.

That has lent fuel to the speculation that the new bikes may even feature a capacity higher than 750cc, possibly even going above 800cc to rival Triumph’s best-selling 900cc Bonneville Street Twin lineup.

These new parallel-twin motorcycles are to make their international debut at the EICMA show in Milan this November, with an India launch slated for early 2018.

  • CrossHelmet X1 claims to be how future helmets will come to be

  • CrossHelmet X1 features built-in HUD, Bluetooth, rearview camera, ambient noise processing

  • CrossHelmet X1 project is crowd funded on Kickstarter

While traditional helmet companies stick to producing helmets in the tried and true sense in terms of design and features, that focus has given room for “independents” to produce helmets with features that are eschewed by the traditionalists. That statement doesn’t mean we’re insinuating that these new helmets are bad, instead, we meant that these helmets feature out-of-the-square thinking.

A Tokyo-based company called Borderless Inc. has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its CrossHelmet X1 smart helmet. So, what are inside this Alien/spaceman-looking helmet? It features not only integrated Bluetooth connectivity, but also ambient sound control and a heads-up display (HUD) which provides a claimed 360-degree view.

The features may sound similar to the Skully AR-1 (now in the hands of new investors – click here to read more), but the CrossHelmet X1 has a few extra notable features.

The HUD isn’t a plug-in item, instead is integrates all the technologies of the helmet. The rearview camera offers a 170-degree view which is paired to the front faceshield to provide 30 degrees more peripheral vision for a 360-degree view. Additionally, the HUD presents information such as speed, compass direction, weather, time and navigation on the foldable bifocal lens.

The CrossHelmet X1’s smartphone app provides access to the helmet’s features. You can listen to music, make/receive phone calls, and Group Talk just like if you’ve attached a Bluetooth communication device.

Unique to the CrossHelmet X1 at this moment is the CrossSound Control – the patented noise control system. It’s designed to reduce or enhance environmental sounds, depending on the rider’s needs via the smartphone app. Its algorithm is claimed to filter out road, engine and windnoise, while allowing through critical sounds such as screeching brakes and emergency sirens. Although SENA had been developing their Momentum INC (Intelligent Noise-Control) Pro helmet, the CrossHelmet is the first to make it to production with the noise control technology.

That’s not all, the helmet’s “sidepod” has a capacitive sticker which doubles up as a touch panel. Specific gestures will activate certain functions, just like smartphone.

There are also LED lightstrips on the sidepods, functioning as position lights for safety.

All these technologies are processed by a 1.2 GHz Dual Core Cortex A9 processor, powered by a safe solid-state lithium-ceramic battery.

As it is, the CrossHelmet X1 isn’t cheap, costing USD 1,799. Click here to head over to CrossHelmet site or click here for the Kickstarter site, in case you’d like to invest in one. The first units are expected to delivered in the autumn or winter of 2018.

The CrossHelmet X1 has passed the ECE, DOT and JIS standards.

  • Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus Technology is a fully-synthetic motor oil

  • The lubricant is formulated to last up to 12,000 kilometres

  • Engine is now smoother, faster-revving and has gained extra RPMs

We’ve covered Shell Advance Ultra with Pureplus’ origins in a previous article (click here to read more). I’ve been using this lubricant in my 2011 Kawasaki ER-6f since May of this year.

There were two grades to choose from at that particular time: 10W-40 and 10W-50. The former grade is recommended by Kawasaki as the primary choice, while the second is recommended by the manufacturer for countries with high ambient temperatures.

While the second grade would’ve been perfect, I decided to go ahead with the 10W-40 choice just to test how it would fare, since it’s the primary choice.

During the pour, the oil was a very clear, almost golden yellow. That’s due to the PurePlus Technology. Shell’s PurePlus Technology results from Shell’s gas-to-liquid crystal-clear base oil which is virtually free from impurities such as sulfur, mercaptans, mecury, nitrogen, aromatics (click here to read more).

The real difference, of course, was what happened when the engine was started and running. The Shell Advance Ultra’s effect was immediate. The ER-6 range is well-known for its loud ticking sound emanating from the cylinder head, but with the Shell lubricant, the sound was reduced significantly at idle. The sound totally disappeared when the helmet went on and riding.

Engine response was quick, even when the oil was new. (A new oil is still more viscous or “thicker,” compared to older oil.) More importantly, the engine didn’t feel stressed when accelerating hard through the gears and had no qualms about holding high RPMs for extended periods.

Additionally, there’s a 300 RPM drop when cruising at all speeds. Lower revs equate to lower fuel consumption.

The oil has since covered 3000km. I’ll be honest here: The biggest complaint heard in the market about most, if not all oils, is their inability to hold its grade and performance throughout its lifespan. Most bikers change their oils every 5000km, regardless if they used fully-synthetic or semi-synthetic lubricants. In their opinion, lubricants would experience a performance drop by the time it hits the 2500km to 3000km mark.

Now, I’ve used almost every oil available in the market, even some that aren’t; and I can happily report that the Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus has not a dropped in its performance thus far. The ticking in my bike’s valvetrain is still soft, the engine still revs willingly, and the 300 RPM reduction is still present. That has made riding a hoot especially in the city as overtaking is easy – a quick blast of the throttle is all that’s needed.

Of course, the oil has changed colour, but extracting some of it out of the engine revealed that it is still reddish brown instead of being totally black or worse, grayish black. I’m positive that should be credited to the PurePlus technology, since it started out free from impurities (click here for more info).

Shell has iterated that the Advance Ultra with PurePlus technology is formulated to be long-lasting. Because of that, its official service life is at 12000km for Ducatis. While different engines “use” their lubricants differently, if so, it means the oil in my engine has covered only at 25% of its lifespan.

A further report at 6000km is forthcoming from our test and I shall push it to the 12000km cycle. But at this moment, the Shell Advance Ultra with PurePlus has already surpassed my expectations.

  • KTM Malaysia organized the KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke Media Ride

  • The route ran through city traffic, Karak Highway and up Bukit Tinggi

  • The new Dukes are more refined and even more fun to ride than before

Hot on the heels of the KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke official last night (click here for the news), KTM Malaysia had organized a special program for the motoring media today (27th September 2017).

Known as the KTM 250 Duke & KTM 390 Duke Media Ride, members of the media were given the privilege to test ride both the new models for day.

The Media Ride began from the eCity Hotel, just after a heavy rain squal.

Inspected up close, the new 250 Duke and 390 Duke are much more refined with good build quality, fit, finish and feel. Gone are the ill-fitting panels and seemingly wayward welds on the frame. Gone too are the aluminium engine hangers of old – the engine is now attached directly to the frame. The paintjob is also even throughout.

The spec sheet quoted an increase of 30mm in the seat height. Some of us were concerned how it would affect average Malaysian who are shorter in stature compared to their Caucasian counterparts. But the rear spring sags downwards like a dirtbike as soon as we got on and most of us, including me who is only 167cm tall could place one foot flat on the ground or have both feet reaching terra firma comfortably.

The redesigned seat was also comfortable and doesn’t feel like a piece of plywood painted black. It was comfy, wide and long.

The rider’s triangle – relationship of the seat to the footpegs and handlebar – has been revised for a much more comfortable reach. The handlebars are closer to the rider and set at just the correct height, without being too sporty or too upright. The footpegs were also placed high enough without being too rear set. The handlebar is narrower, like a naked sportbike’s instead of being wide like a motocrosser’s.

KTM Malaysia had prepared seven 250 Dukes and eight 390 Dukes. I started out on the 250 Duke when we left the hotel. We surprised as soon as we thumbed the starter button. Gone is the “loose piston” sound, replaced with a smooth throb (although muted).

The Duke 250’s instrument panel had been carried over from the previous models, thus finding the information I sought took only a quick glance.

We headed to Bukit Tinggi, via the Karak Highway. We opened up as soon as we hit the NKVE. the 250 pulled smoothly through its rev range. There was a little vibration as expected from a single-cylinder motorcycle, but it was definitely much smoother this time around.

There was also an appealing “vroom” from the new exhaust and airbox below the tank.

We were expecting the 250 Duke to lack the grunt to punch through traffic, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that it could actually hold its own. The engine started to lose its breath at around 125 km/h but still pulled to 137 km/h in my hands, ( I was being careful as it was a new bike and I didn’t want to hurt it) but another journo had hit a tad over 140 km/h.

While that doesn’t sound a lot, bear in mind that it’s a one-cylinder engine and the speedometer is super accurate, plus the fact that these bikes have not being broken in.

The 250 Duke’s handling was predictably agile as it cut through the heavy traffic.

I switched over the 390 Duke at BHP Gombak. Facing me immediately was the new TFT-display and control buttons on the left handlebar. They reflected those on the 1290 Super Duke R.

The engine fired up to a soft rumble, you knew there’s was something more substantial in there, compared to the 250 Duke.

Right from the off, the 390 Duke had a big torque, belying its 373cc. I kid you not, it felt like a bigger engine.

Out on Karak Highway, the 390 Duke’s engine pulled hard for its size and cleanly through its RPM range. But what was more enjoyable was how that torque and power was put to work around corners. Whereas you’d normally downshift for more push off a corner, you could usually select a higher gear and just leave it there, making it especially fun when charging up Bukit Tinggi.

It has to be said that KTM had chosen the best location to highlight the characters of both bikes by choosing Bukit Tinggi. The feeder road is only one lane up and down, and the corners are sharp with many decreasing ones.

Both Dukes flicked through them so keenly there were many occasions when I realized that I didn’t countersteer.

The suspension doesn’t throw you around like potato chips in a bag now and they certainly didn’t wobble or pump up and down in corners.

The 390 Duke’s front brake was mighty impressive too. A one-fingered pull was usually enough for most occasions.

Needless to say, we came away very impressed with the new Dukes. Stay tuned for the full review soon!

  • New KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke have been launched tonight

  • The KTM 250 Duke is priced from RM 21,730 (incl. 6% GST)

  • The KTM 390 Duke is priced from RM 28,800 (incl. 6% GST)

One City USJ, 26th September 2017 – The KTM 250 Duke and KTM 390 Duke has been launched to a great reception tonight.

The launched of the KTM 200 Duke in 2012 caused a sensation short of a revolution in the small capacity naked sportbike market. For it marked the introduction of a motorcycle that performance in terms of speed (for a 200cc bike), handling and braking, wrapped in a frame and bodywork that was different from anything before it.

The KTM 390 Duke was launched soon after to even more resounding success, followed by the KTM 250 Duke, which had racier features such as a slipper clutch.

Since then, KTM’s rivals have launched models to rival the Duke’s success, prompting KTM to refresh the smaller Dukes.

KTM Malaysia had launched the new 1290 Super Duke R earlier this year, then when pictures of the new baby Dukes started circulating on the internet.

Instead of following the same template across the range, KTM has taken the step to give both the 250 and 390 new looks for their own identities. Yet, the styling of both models still unmistakenly within the Duke’s family’s looks.


The new 250 Duke has received what KTM calls, “… more than just an aggressive makeover.”

KTM has given the new KTM 250 Duke a newly designed headlamp, reminiscent of the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R.

The new styling also brings along a bigger fuel tank (now 13.4 litres up from 11.1 litres), redesigned seats for sporty yet comfortable for long rides whether solo or with a passenger.

The Austrian manufacturer’s lay to claim has always been READY TO RACE, hence performance is always high on the list.

The 248.8cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve, single-cylinder engine packs a healthy 30 bhp, which is sent through a 6-speed gearbox with a slip-and-assist clutch for smoother corner entries. Spent gasses exit through a new exhaust system.

The forks are upsided-down WP (of course), but now features open-cartridges. The advantages are lighter weight and ease of maintenance due to fewer parts.

The frame and bolt-on sub-frame are also new.

Its lightweight steel trellis frame has been updated. The wheelbase is 10mm shorter for more agility, while the rider’s seat is now 30mm taller at 830 mm.


Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves, single-cylinder
Compression ratio 12.6 : 1
Bore X Stroke 72.0 mm X 61.1 mm
Displacement 248.8 cc
Fuel system Bosch electronic fuel injection
Maximum power 30 bhp (23 kW) @ 9000 RPM
Maximum torque 24 Nm @ 7250 RPM
Clutch PASC slipper clutch
Gearbox 6-speed
Front suspension WP 43mm USD forks, 142 mm travel
Rear suspension WP single shock, adjustable for preload, 150 mm travel
Front brakes Single 300 mm disc, single-piston radially mounted caliper
Rear brake Single 230 mm disc, single-piston floating caliper
ABS Bosch MB9.1 Two channel
Front tyre 110/70-ZR17
Rear tyre 150/60-ZR17
Frame Steel trellis
Swingarm Two-sided, cast aluminium
Trail 95 mm
Rake 25 degrees
Wheelbase 1357 mm
Seat height 830 mm
Dry weight 147 kg
Fuel capacity 13.4 litres



The new KTM 390 Duke has similarly been updated, but the changes are more extensive.

It’s overall appearance has taken on its top sibling’s – the 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R – appearance. The headlamp takes its inspiration directly from the latter complete with split LED day running light and headlamp. The fuel tank and its flanks have also been updated for a fiercer look.

The new 390 Duke also features a multi-function, multi-colour TFT instrument cluster similar to the 1290 Super Duke R’s. The display adjusts its brightness automatically depending on ambient lighting. It also features Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone and is now controllable from the handlebar switches.

But it’s underneath all these new panels that matters the most.

The new model now features a Ride-by-Wire throttle, for smoother throttle response. The 390cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, single-cylinder engine has been upgraded to produce an impressive 44 bhp and 37 Nm of torque.

Additionally, a slip-and-assist clutch is featured in the new 390 Duke, compared to the previous model. The slip function eliminates rear tyre chatter in the event of aggressive downshifting, while the assist function helps to lighten clutch lever pull, besides performing as a self-servo function to apply more pressure on the plates when accelerating to ensure power is fully transmitted to the transmission.

The engine and chassis components are then attached to the new frame and bolt-on subframe.

With the increase in go, KTM didn’t forgo the stop department either. The new bike now features a larger, 320mm front brake disc with a Bosch ABS system providing a safety net.


Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves, single-cylinder
Compression ratio 12.6 : 1
Bore X Stroke 89.0 mm X 60.0 mm
Displacement 373.2 cc
Fuel system Bosch electronic fuel injection
Maximum power 44 bhp (32 kW) @ 9000 RPM
Maximum torque 37 Nm @ 7000 RPM
Clutch PASC slipper clutch
Gearbox 6-speed
Front suspension WP 43mm USD forks, 142 mm travel
Rear suspension WP single shock, adjustable for preload, 150 mm travel
Front brakes Single 20 mm disc, single-piston radially mounted caliper
Rear brake Single 230 mm disc, single-piston floating caliper
ABS Bosch MB9.1 Two channel
Front tyre 110/70-ZR17
Rear tyre 150/60-ZR17
Frame Steel trellis
Swingarm Two-sided, cast aluminium
Trail 95 mm
Rake 25 degrees
Wheelbase 1357 mm
Seat height 830 mm
Dry weight 149 kg
Fuel capacity 13.4 litres




I could still remember my exact feelings when I picked up the June 1992 issue of Cycle World Magazine from a kiosk in Lot 10. On the cover was a so radical that it looked like a hippie Xenomorph (the alien in the Alien movie franchise) in blue and pink. Or at least this would be the Xeno Queen’s ride if she’s into motorcycles.

But look at those front “forks”! Those exhaust pipes! That big yellow Öhlins shock absorber hanging in front of the engine!

The copy on the magazine’s cover shouted, “THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED MOTORCYCLE”.

I promptly paid for the mag and hurried to the Delifrance café to read more about this “Britten V-1100.”

It was then that I discovered that was actually homebuilt. Yes, built in a certain genius’ backyard!

That guy’s name was John Britten.

John Britten didn’t hail from Italy, Germany or Japan, instead, he was a humble guy born in 1950, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Britten studied mechanical engineering at a night school. This wasn’t mentioned in the mag, but I only found out while researching for this article. John Britten suffered from dyslexia.

He went to work with ICI as a cadet draughtsman afterwards. It was here that he learned to design moulds, patterns, metal spinning and other engineering designs.

Britten then embarked on a short stint in England, where he worked with a renowned civil engineering firm to build links to the M1 and M4 motorways.

When he returned to New Zealand, he became the design engineer for Rowe Engineering’s offroad equipment. He also built glass kilns and went into business as a fine artist designing and making glass lighting by hand, before joining the family property management and development business.

But John Britten had a love for motorcycles.

He was an amateur racer in New Zealand. He wanted to make something more out of his classic bevel-drive Ducati, but the engine was unreliable and the chassis didn’t handle the way he liked. He turned to a Denco engine from New Zealand, but that too proved to be unfeasible. Furthermore, ordering parts from the outside world meant they would take too long to find their way to New Zealand at the time. (It was before the internet an eBay.)

In search of the perfect race bike, Britten thus decided to build an entire bike himself.

That bike soon came to be known the world over as the Britten V1000.

But Britten didn’t have sophisticated CAD/CAM and CNC machines, windtunnels and, an army of engineers like the major manufacturers did. All he did have was his home’s garage and a few good friends.

So how do you form the outline of a motorcycle then? Britten did it by cutting lengths of gardening wire and stuck them together with a glue gun. A clay model was then built around this frame which became the mould of the carbon fibre bodywork and other components.

The front wishbone “forks,” swingarm, bodywork and even wheels were made of carbon fibre!

Speaking of carbon fibre, Britten didn’t draw up the parts and had them made by specialist makers. Nope uh-uh, he and his mates painstakingly laid the carbon fibre material and moulded the parts themselves at home. And since this was during the late-80’s and early-90’s – the black stuff was used extensively only in Formula 1 at the time.

Homemade specials are usually the amalgam of the bodywork, frame, parts of the chassis, while the engine is usually sourced from existing motorcycles. But since Britten was frustrated by commercially produced engines and the lack of parts, the V1000’s engine would likewise be built from scratch.

Parts of the engine were hand cast and heat treated in Britten’s wife’s pottery kiln. There was a video of Britten extracting the oil sump from the kiln, then pouring water on it from plastic pails to cool it down. Some of the water came from the swimming pool.

The four-stroke, 8-valve, 60-degree, 999cc, V-Twin engine made 165bhp. Its ECU was programmable and also featured data-acquisition. Two versions of the engine were produced, one at 1000cc and another at 1100cc, as different race events allow different capacity caps. But most were 1000cc machines.

The innovations didn’t stop there. Everything on the bike conformed to the “design follows function” principle.

Britten didn’t like the way suspension systems of the day performed so he built the Hossack-style double wishbone front suspension system. The girders were attached to an Öhlins shock via linkages that allowed the rake and trail to be easily altered. This set up also isolated the front suspension from using up a good part of its travel during hard braking.

The large Öhlins shock behind the front wheel was in fact for the rear suspension, attached to the swingarm with linkages. Britten did so to isolate it from the rear exhaust’s heat which degrades a shock’s performance. Besides that, it made adjusting the shock much easier, compared to shoving hands and tools into a tiny space.

Speaking of the exhaust, those blue coloured, intestine-like exhaust downtubes took that form to achieve equal pipe lengths.

The radiator was mounted under the rider’s seat and intakes in the front of the fairing brought cooling air to it. It was done so to bring the front wheel closer to the engine to centralize mass and keep a short wheelbase, way before the major manufacturers had did anything about it.

The V1000 was essentially “frameless.” The front end and swingarm were connected directly to the engine, which was then connected to the tank as a fully stressed member, somewhat reminiscent of the groundbreaking Vincent Black Shadow/Black Lightning and the Kawaski KR500 GP racer. But those tanks were steel, unlike the V1000’s. The V1000’s frameless carbon fibre concept was later seen in the Ducati Desmosedici GP9 in 2009, followed by the Ducati 1199 Panigale in 2011.

The V1000 weighed in at 138 kg (that’s just 4 kg more than the KTM 200 Duke), and with 165 bhp, that equaled a magnificent power-to-weight ratio of 1.19 bhp/kg. Yes, current MotoGP racers and even some streetbikes do better than that but again, this was in 1991.

If these concepts were already mind-blowing to say the least, there’s probably no superlative to describe it as the V1000 was entirely home- and handmade.

But so what, if the concepts didn’t work right? The Britten V-1000 became a legend due to its performance on the racetrack.

The most lasting impression in most people’s minds was the V1000 pulling a wheelie while passing the factory Ducati at the 1992 Daytona Supertwins race, propelling rider Andrew Stroud into the lead. The V1000 led until the penultimate lap when it stopped due to a faulty rectifier – ironically sourced from a Ducati. (One of the cylinder liners had also cracked on the previous day. Another part not built by Britten.) But the V1000 had cemented its place in history, having run up front in its maiden race. It was the indisputable proof that John Britten’s concept was viable!

The V1000 went on to dominate in 1993 and 1994, winning multiple races and the New Zealand National Championship and the British European and American Race Series (BEARS). Britten and team had developed the bike along the way and it won the 1995 BEARS Championship in commanding fashion by finishing 43 seconds ahead of its closest competitor.

Britten had tested the V1000 against the FIM World Speed Records in the 1000cc and under category, too. The bike broke the flying mile record at 302.705 km/h, the standing mile at 134.617 km/h, the standing mile start at 213.512 km/h, and standing start kilometer at 186.245 km/h. It was the fastest motorcycle in its class!

It may sound like a scary bike to ride but eminent motojournalists Alan Cathcart and Nick Ienatch, among the lucky few to have ridden the V1000 reported it to be smooth and easy to go fast on.

There was no doubt the V1000 would have gone further but it was not to be. John Britten was diagnosed with inoperable malignant melanoma (aggressive skin cancer) in 1995. He passed away on 5th September that same year, at the age of 45.

There were only ten Britten V1000 ever built, in addition to the one prototype.

  • Harley-Davidson’s dealer agreement with Naza has ended

  • Harley-Davidson is “refreshing” their dealer network

  • The Motor Company will now look for dealer partners with immediate effect

Harley-Davidson of Kuala Lumpur. Courtesy of wemotor

Harley-Davidson Asia’s dealer agreement with Naza Prestige Bikes Sdn. Bhd. has come to an end. Naza Prestige Bikes currently operates Harley-Davidson of Kuala Lumpur, Harley-Davidson of Penang and Harley-Davidson of Johor Bharu dealerships.

The bombshell news comes in light of Harley-Davidson’s objective to increase its international business by another 50 percent of its current annual volume. The Motor Company will now embark on the quest of searching for a new Malaysian partner with immediate effect.

“We would like to thank Naza Prestige Bikes Sdn Bhd for close to a decade of partnership in Malaysia operating Harley-Davidson dealerships and building up a loyal customer base,” said Peter Mackenzie, managing director of Harley-Davidson in Greater China, India and Asia Emerging Markets.

The announcement in Harley-Davidson’s Facebook page added: “We’re working towards a seamless transition to continue bringing exciting motorcycles, parts and accessories, as well as apparel to you in Malaysia.”

“We are grateful for your support and are here to stay. If you have any questions, please drop us a message or email us at Stay tuned for updates.”

It will be interesting to see who will pick up the ball and how this news will affect the Harley Owners Group (HOG) Malaysia, besides the owners of officially sold Harleys and parallel-imported Harleys.

The announcement has not been reflected in Naza Pretige Bike’s dealership Facebook pages. Owners are already beginning to enquire about their warranty status and five-year free service package. Hope to see some definitive answers soon.





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